Hallowed grounds (thirst Colorado)

by Eric Peterson
October 24, 2023
The Winery at Holy Cross Abbey


Most wineries don’t have an exorcism or an accountant in their history. The Winery at Holy Cross Abbey in Cañon City has both.

As the story goes, a monk from the historic Holy Cross Abbey performed an exorcism on an allegedly haunted winery in Palisade in 2000.

That sparked an idea: Why not make wine at the monastery? The monks, who numbered about 20 at the time, recruited a winemaker and opened the Winery at Holy Cross Abbey in 2002.

Their numbers further dwindled, and the church ultimately moved them to other facilities as it looked for a buyer for the winery. They found Larry Oddo. 

An accountant by trade, Oddo bought the winery in 2005. “I was looking for something different than what I was doing,” he said. “I’m a foodie, I love beverages.  . . . It just aligned pretty well.”

At the time, Oddo was commuting from New Jersey to New York and back again for more than three hours a day in all. “My commute went to 15, 20 minutes,” he laughed.

The Winery at Holy Cross Abbey now uses 18 varietals of grapes in its portfolio, including award-winning merlots and rieslings. Much of the fruit is sourced from the Western Slope of Colorado.

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